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Intern teachers win big as employer gets Sh13.4bn for hiring

 Junior secondary students in a school in Kisumu. [Michael Mute, Standard]

Over 46,000 interns teaching in junior secondary schools can breathe easy after the government set aside Sh13.4 billion for their permanent employment.

This is part of the education sector’s record Sh656.6 billion vote, the highest share of the budget allocation. This is a Sh28 billion increase from Sh628 billion in the last budget.

About half of the money, Sh358.2 billion, will go to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), the teachers' employer.

The allocation towards employment of intern teachers follows months of a standoff, a strike, layoffs and a pending court case between the interns and TSC.

In May, TSC told Parliament that it planned to convert the status of the interns to permanent and pensionable in January 2025, after they had served as interns for two years.

But the National Assembly’s Committee on Education petitioned for the hiring of the first cohort of 26,000 teachers on permanent and pensionable terms in July this year.

TSC stated that it would need Sh16.6 billion to employ the interns. This means TSC still has a shortfall of Sh3.2 billion for the conversion.

“I have proposed an allocation of Sh13.4 billion for the conversion of 46,000 Junior Secondary School interns to Permanent and Pensionable terms,” Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u said while presenting the 2024/2025 budget to Parliament.

Furthermore, junior secondary schools will receive Sh1 billion for the construction of classrooms and another Sh1.3 billion for training teachers in the Competency-Based Curriculum.

The basic education wing, which includes primary and secondary schools, will get Sh142.3 billion. Out of this, Free Primary Education has been allocated Sh9.1 billion, while junior secondary schools have been allocated Sh30.7 billion for capitation. To support Free Day Secondary Education, institutions will receive Sh61.9 billion.

The Kenya National Examinations Council has been allocated Sh5 billion for exam fee waiver. Ndung’u also proposed Sh3.2 billion for infrastructure development in schools.

Higher education and research are set to receive Sh128 billion. TVET institutions will be allocated Sh30.7 billion.

The Higher Education Loans Board will receive Sh35.9 billion for university and TVET students, with Sh16.9 billion allocated to university scholarships and Sh7.7 billion for TVET capitation and scholarships.

Further allocations include Sh1.1 billion for Research, Science and Technology Innovation and Sh1.8 billion for the construction of integrated resource centres for learning.

For the Digital Literacy Programme and ICT integration in secondary schools, the Treasury proposed Sh360 million. The Kenya Primary Education Equity in Learning programme has been allocated Sh11.1 billion, while the Kenya Secondary Schools Quality Improvement project received Sh1.5 billion.

Notably, the CS did not mention the school feeding programme in the budget allocations.

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